The Book On Fundraising Chapter 12 Email Tips
The Book on Fundraising was created by the team at DonationTo.com. Today we announce The Book on Fundraising available 100% for free, in blog form. As the months progress we will work quickly to make these pages available on our blog - DonationTo.com/blog. Below is Chapter 12 – Email Tips – This is a key element to know as you start any type of fundraising!
You might wonder how relevant personal emails are in today’s social media world. With the upsurge of networking sites, you would sooner see a message like “@JWow, the bachelorette party was great!” via Twitter than you would receive an email about it. And while some of us grow nostalgic for the days when you might get a surprise postcard from a friend or a long, juicy story in your inbox, old and new generations of fundraisers alike are beginning to understand the effectiveness of email when it comes to hitting fundraising goals.
Personalizing Your Emails
Personal emails are a very effective solution for fundraising. For example, imagine skimming through your personal inbox with morning eyes: every single email you see is an automated response. Then you see it: an email that begins with “Dear . . ,” a smartly, purposefully written letter which stands out from the crowd. And the element of novelty — when coupled with creativity, efficiency, and enthusiasm — can work wonders for engaging an audience with your cause.
Here are some tips to best take advantage of emails for fundraising. First, make sure to keep your fundraising email personalized to capture your audience; doing so will prevent people from discarding your message as a generic public service announcement. Instead of sending one message to all of your contacts, have a few versions whose first lines are modified to address specific groups of people in your life, and send your emails to one group at a time. One version that addresses close friends may begin, “Dear friends, I hope you are all doing well. Amy and I want to thank you for coming out to our event last month” before continuing to describe your cause. Another may be addressed to your work friends, and another to family only. Put your own email under “To” and BCC everyone else. Keeping it personalized will pay off!
To send emails to over 500 people, you will require an email vendor. Mail Chimp and Mad MiMi provide great service for large, personalized emailings, and the cost is very inexpensive. These email services also offer a lot of additional data, such as who has opened your emails and who is taking action. Another benefit is fancy design. Mail Chimp and Mad MiMi allow email designs that match your fundraising project — involving such elements as colors, themes, and your logo — with no technical skill required.
Next comes the real content. Remember the email’s main message should be kept short and direct. Your readers must know at least two things: what your cause is and what you are asking them to do. To explain your cause, don’t be afraid to tell a story, albeit a short one, since stories are often more engaging and persuasive than simple statements like “I’m running a marathon.” How did passion for your cause come about? Remember the ultimate goal is for the visitor to click and arrive at your fundraising page.
Next, tell your readers your goal and how they might help you reach it. Be specific! Is your goal to raise $5,000 by the end of the month? Is it to have 5,000 people “Like” your event on Facebook? It always helps to have a deadline; this will help people to act! Finally, if you are raising money, tell your faithful readers where the funds go, both to provide assurance and to show them that you take their support very seriously.
Of course, your message does not have to be about money. Emails are equally as effective for spreading awareness. At the same time that your infectious enthusiasm takes hold of your readers, don’t be afraid to recruit them to help you spread awareness as well!
Harness the power of Facebook and Twitter by setting simple “Awareness Goals” for each week. Here is an example: in week 1, your goal might be to collect 100 Twitter posts about your cause. Week 2 might ask for 200 Facebook “Likes” for your fundraising event. Week 3 might encourage readers to post 50 comments on your blog, and week 4 might ask them to create their own fundraising Facebook events. From here supporters will be engaged with your cause and support will happen naturally.
Tier Level Rewards in Email
In the previous chapter, we cover how to set up tier level rewards in detail. Now that you’re equipped with an email strategy, it’s time to notify your supporters about your tier level rewards system electronically.
As we’ve mentioned, tier level rewards involve giving donors gifts that match the value of their donations. For example, a donation of $20 may earn donors a low tier reward, like a T-shirt, while a donation of $1,000 earns donors their name on a plaque. The higher the donation, the higher tier, and more desirable, the reward. Listing specific amounts to donate in your email — for example, $20, $100, $500, and $1,000 — as well as the corresponding rewards for each amount, provides a set of guidelines that simplifies the decision-making process for recipients of your email, as well as crystal clear incentives that they will be sure to appreciate.
For readers who don’t donate money but help to spread awareness, you can offer them a different kind of incentive: a reminder of how their time will help those directly impacted by your cause. In your email, highlight the possible results that their support can achieve. For example, you can write this: “By tweeting and blogging about the water well we are building in Tanzania, more and more people can learn about how a single well like this one can provide fresh drinking water to 45 individuals. This can lead to more wells being built!” Helping people remember the good consequences of their deeds will spur many to action.
As another reminder, don’t forget to be specific! Many times, people will feel the urge to help, but they might get discouraged if they’re not given crystal clear instructions. To prevent that from happening, provide links to the exact web page where readers can donate. Highlight the text that you would like readers to copy and paste into their Facebook statuses or Twitter pages. Use formatting strategies like bolding select phrases and bullet-pointing lists to bring attention to important pieces of information. Finally, thank your readers for their time, and make sure to provide your contact information so supporters can reach you, including your email, phone, and mailing address.
With careful planning, emails can garner support for your cause efficiently and effectively by adding that much-needed personal touch to your fundraising effort. By spreading awareness and offering updates, it can transform indifferent readers into caring ones. And by offering clear directions and incentives, it can encourage caring readers to actually reach out and help.
Formatting Your Fundraising Email
Now that you know what to write in your fundraising email, it’s time to address the correct format. Don’t underestimate the work involved here: your email could have been written by the President, but if it doesn’t look right — if it’s visually disorganized, boring, or too over-the-top — your readers might not read it at all. To wrap up this chapter, we will fill you in on some formatting tips to help keep your email short and sweet for the eyes.
Use paragraphs: Keep it simple is the way to go. Unlike paragraphs in an essay, paragraphs in your electronic correspondences need to be even shorter; usually, paragraphs containing more than five sentences are tiresome to read. If you include several paragraphs, short headers can help separate them logically.
Outlines are your friend: Whenever possible, use bullet-pointed, indented, or numbered lists. You may choose to list the dates of this month’s fundraising events or the links to your social networking pages. Whatever the case, lists are both easy to understand and easy on the eyes.
Everyone loves pictures: Inserting images that are relevant to your cause adds a unique and exciting touch, but don’t include more than two or three to prevent from distracting your readers. In general, personal photos of you and your supporters are more effective than clip-art or logo images because they are more specific and feel more personal to your cause.
Formatting styles are allowed: When used correctly, formatting styles like bolding and underlining text can bring visual attention to your email’s most important sentences and phrases. If you are in need of even more punch, use one or two additional font colors (no light or neon colors) for select sentences. Note: to check if you’re using formatting styles correctly, after you have completed your email, read only the parts you’ve formatted differently — if you can still get the main idea of your message, then you’ve done well.
Moreover, avoid overdoing it! Remember, formatting options are tools that should be used selectively to enhance your message. Adding too many colors and styles with fonts and your email will end up looking messy and your message will be lost. Keep it short and simple, and the outcome will be an effective email message!
Looking for additional fundraising tips check out these other links: How to Write Emails for Fundraising, How to Receive Online Donations with 5 Email Tips, How to Fundraise Successfully with DonationTo, How to Raise Money Online with the Book On Fundraising, How to Plan Your Cause to Fundraise Better
Thanks again! From the DonationTo Team!!
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